A bakery will be filling in the unit where Fast Cash used to be located on Lacey Road after receiving administrative approval by the Planning Board.
Confection Connection will be coming to town as the Planning Board lifted certain food restrictions for the particular unit.
Richard Holzer, the landlord of the local strip mall in Forked River, previously went before the Planning Board on two separate occasions for an amended site plan — to have an elevator removed and to lift food restrictions.
“He’s had great difficulty complying with the restrictions imposed by the board at this site in order to rent out the site to qualified tenants,” attorney Chris Supsie said.
The strip mall has four units and only one is currently occupied since Fast Cash relocated, he said. Most potential tenants are food businesses.
“The restriction was put in there really with the venting issues for homes behind it,” board member and Committeeman Gary Quinn said.
Without much of a rear setback, the strip mall is located in close proximity to a residential zone. By placing a food restriction on the strip mall, the Planning Board was keeping potential offensive odors from those living directly behind it.
Confection Connection will be utilizing an electric commercial oven to cook its cookies, specialty cakes, pies, muffins, cupcakes and donuts. The oven has a cook top but owner Lori Thum said she doesn’t use it.
Because the oven doesn’t require venting and the types of odors that the bakery may produce would be less unpleasant than fried food, for example, the Planning Board lifted the restrictions. Any future tenants with a food use, will still have to go before the board.
Confection Connection was previously located in Manasquan.
“It did very well there,” Thum said. “I was there about a year. Unfortunately there was too much competition with another store so they didn’t want me to be there. I was not able to continue my lease there.”
Lacey Township is also closer to her home, she said.
“I like the fact that it’s right across the street from a church,” she said. “That’ll be a big draw.”
In addition to the homemade cookies and other products, pastries and bread will be delivered.
Seating will be available in the front of the bakery. Thum said her intentions are to create the same “warm” atmosphere that was in Manasquan.
In Manasquan, at 140 Main Street, the Confection Connection was open daily and was a wifi hotspot, according to its Facebook page. The bakery opened on June 2.